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Noah Carvajal

Page history last edited by Noah Carvajal 6 years, 11 months ago

The Swing

 

They tore down the swing today,

Where I had first swung,

Taught by my friend who had,

Dazzled in his soaring and,

The air was cool -

In summer’s first fading;

 

They tore down the swing today

Though I admit I was unaware for a while

Having not swung in years, or tasted the soaring -

And I breathe in the air,

Years later,

And taste the spring.

 

 

Chocolate Poem

 

Cocoa cream, Belgian chocolate

Filled with a wafer, covered

In sticky sweet sugar.

 

Like the little neutrino that couldn’t,

It hits my tongue before it’s time.

Life-like.

 

 

On Fairies Outside Hayworthy Church

 

There was a man I never knew.
Ernie.
A horseman in the war.
Born in a century I never met.
A long time ago.

Now, Ernie sat looking back.
‘A mug o’ cider’, he said.
‘Withou’ i’ we’d never’a worked as ‘ard as we did’.
He said.

From the land and back again.
Near Ross on Wye, near the Black Mountains and the Welsh border.
Broom Farm, Herefordshire.
‘Saw ‘em once down by Hayworthy church’,
‘Dancin’’.
Dancin’.

 

 

The Ballad of Charles Sufire

 

well Sufire an his merry men

broke outta jail an broke back again

well Sufire lost an Sufire won

Sufire died with a big iron gun

 

well Sufire roamed about the land

roamin round with a gun in his hand

his men they cried an his men they fought

his men got bribed an his men got bought

 

well bad ol Misfire got wind of the plan

tracked him down t the cold desert sand

cold desert sand an hot desert sun

Sufire died with a big iron gun

 

well Sufire

an

a gun in his hand

broke out

of

the cold desert sand

well Sufire lost

an

got wind of the plan

Sufire died

with

a gun in his hand

 

 

Picture On My Wall

 

Well I finally took that picture off my wall -

And y’know it took a while to take it down

Whilst I whiled away the day,

My downtime wasted on that wall -

 

Hung up there for months and months

And God y’know it really stunk

Hanging on my wall,

Hung up there myself.

 

And as the months grew colder

And I felt myself get older

I knew it was time for a change,

Some change, for a time.

Time changes.

Everything in time.

 

Got a new one up now,

Lord guide my hand in that,

Because it always brings something new -

New into my room.

 

 

Words

 

There is a pulse in everything -

Rhythm in words.

Even in the oldest iron of my blood I feel it,

Whatever it is.

I don’t know.

 

‘Oh I am come to the low Countrie,

Ochon, Ochon, Ochrie!

Without a penny in my purse,

To buy a meal to me.’

 

There is a pulse in everything -

Rhythm in words.

 

They hit me hard.

Harder than I thought they would,

Words older than that.

 

Music older than the language I can barely speak.

 

 

A Person On A Train

 

I saw you on the train that night,

Close to crying -

Your golden hair tumbling down and

Your face too-white.

 

I wonder if you cried that night.

 

As I sat opposite you on the last train home,

I thought of the moors,

The cliffs of England,

And a little empty church in Stoke Pero, Exmoor,

Where my brother played the pump organ.

 

‘Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Nobody knows but Jesus.

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Glory glory hallelujah.’

 

I thought of rain,

Lost in rivers and hills,

A herd of cows

And two faces.

Beauty which I know I cannot get back,

Not yet.

 

One day I’ll go back again.

 

As I saw your fingers tremble

I wanted to reach over and say -

‘Everything will be alright’.

To say,

‘You’re not alone’.

 

I thought of the grave where we sent her off -

Freezing cold in a Quaker graveyard.

Surrounded on all sides now, but

Still serene in it’s stillness.

‘1785’, the lintel said.

 

A face as beautiful as yours

Shouldn’t have that.

A face that shook like yours did.

You got up and left the train.

 

I thought of home.

 

 

Backseat

 

I remember the smell of warmth,

French dust near Lodève -

I was young then.

 

I remember too,

The glimmer of the Welsh coast through ancient hills of chalk -

The roads as narrow as the rivers that hollowed out the valleys.

 

In the haze of the country where I was born,

Vastness as we peak over into the bread-basket of America -

The sky’s bigger there.

 

I remember the rhythm, the thrum of the engine.

It’s warm and dark.

Embryonic.

 

 

My Mother Dancing

 

In the quiet spaces in between the chords

My mother dances -

In a way I’d never seen before.

Spinning gently backwards,

I catch a glimpse

Of a face I’ve known,

In an old black and white photo.

In a dusty place in my mind.

 

I’d never seen such grace before.

 

A word is said.

The vibrations change.

And something passes.

 

‘I used to watch her dance nearly every day, when I first knew her’,

My father says.

‘She was beautiful’.

 

 

Winters

 

Breathing in the air,

I feel the winter coming on.

I think of all the other times,

When the freezing falls.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot, these days.

 

I saw you in the crowd -

For the first time since we said goodbye.

I felt released.

 

Any day now.

 

Working.

Cutting the frost-ground up to plant the hedgerow.

Drinking tea as my father shows me how:

Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Wayfarer Tree.

Hazel and Wild Cherry.

The Guelder Rose.

 

Breath clouding out of my nostrils.

 

‘Cold this mornin’,

A man said.

‘Ad ice on me hands’.

 

Old Jack Frost, been and gone.

 

‘My heart’s in the highlands,

Wherever I roam.

That’s where I’ll be when

I get called home’.

 

It is not morbid to want to be

Buried under the clean earth.

 

 

A Winter Night

 

I feel like a corpse.

Bog-bodied.

Not even the cold winter wind can

Shake me to my senses.

 

The streets blend into one.

Long twists and turns and

Yellow street lights.

 

Patterns in a rambling vine,

Or in some crumbling brickwork.

 

A long-gone town swallowed up by the city.

 

Old names here and there,

Poking through like buds.

 

It is not yet spring.

 

I am walking through the city that I know,

And as the wind whistles through the branches,

I know I am not walking alone.

 

 

Some Alien

 

I can’t stand being in here.

Hot like a spaceship,

Cabin’d, cribb’d, confined.

 

I wish I could feel like the molten bones of myself,

Not like some alien.

 

Noise that drowns out the pulse of my heartbeat.

Light that bleaches out the colour of my skin.

The smell of sweet and nothing.

So strong it almost makes me gag.

 

I can’t see myself in all this white.

 

Strip-malled.

Cut out and put in,

As deep as it could go.

 

They say that the beams are supposed to look like trees,

That the glass is supposed to look like leaves.

They don’t.

They look like beams.

They look like glass.

 

I crash through, to outside.

Concrete and lights,

But at least I can feel the wind,

See frost sparkling out into the air.

 

‘Nature’s voice

Makes my heart rejoice’.

 

Play me the wild song of the wind.

 

 

Saltwater

 

The tears roll down your cheek.

It’s too loud down here,

Too base.

Iron screeching past tunnel-walls of pressed-in earth,

Metal and fiber-glass.

 

There’s a sky out there, you know.

 

In these rows of emotionless faces,

You fight to stand in line.

To press it down.

 

A man once told me,

That the reason you felt sick after a flight,

Was that you didn’t drink enough water.

‘Metal doesn’t give us what we want,’

He said.

‘Y’know we’re 80% water?’.

 

Halfway across the world I thought of that,

The rain lashing joyfully down as I crossed a log-bridge.

Following a badger-track.

 

I think of it now,

incased in metal.

There is nothing impure in tears.

 

 

A Little Snowman

 

We weren’t out there for very long -

Twenty minutes, max.

Rolling the snow into three little balls -

Got a carrot for the nose.

 

A little snowman,

For the snow.

 

I walked passed it again.

Someone had kicked

Our little snowman down.

I don’t know why.

 

A little snowman,

Made of snow.

 

 

Bed

 

In the curve of your waist,

And the bumps of your spine,

I can see you breathing.

 

It isn’t always like this,

I never was this calm.

 

I will sit and I will think

About this, later.

But right now,

That’s the way it goes.

 

And it goes.

 

And it goes.

 

 

Going Someplace

 

Here we are again,

Going somewhere.

 

Feels like my whole life is spent in transit.

Nothing to do but sit.

 

I tell you something,

I’d give everything I got

To stand still somewhere.

 

And I’ll tell you something else,

You can start a sentence

With whatever goddamn word you want.

 

One day I’ll run away,

Go someplace green.

Where you can feel where it began.

 

Gotta get a train there, though.

 

There we go again,

Getting somewhere.

 

 

Common Land

 

Now I

Can feel

The movement of the sea,

So far away from me,

Through fields of green.

Through rolling fields of

Green.

 

Sheep reflect the clouds

Like in a picture-book.

I can smell the earth.

I can smell the leaves,

In my dreams.

 

The puddles reflect the sea,

Newts and tadpoles and pond-skaters,

Left over from the spring rains.

The puddles reflect the sea,

In a way.

 

The sun is bright.

The heather is in yellow bloom.

 

 

Half-Goodbyes

 

This hot day feels like summer,

But the cool air of the night shows me 

The autumn that’s coming.

 

I spend my days seeing friends

Saying half-goodbyes -

 

I know that I will be back,

But as I ride from Wandsworth back to Hammersmith,

Through the Common and over the Wandle,

Past swans and their signets with the Thames flowing slow,

I realise that it will not be the same.

 

I think of people that I miss, that have drifted from me.

Faces and smiles.

The air smells cool and fresh.

It is midnight.

New days.

 

 

Split-Ends

 

You always say

Your hair

Splits and strays.

I always say

Your hair

Was not meant to be that way.

 

Hot iron and curls burnt down,

Pressing and re-pressing.

 

I always say

‘The way it springs.

The way it curls,

Is not only beautiful but true’.

 

You always say

That you don’t like people touching it.

‘It’s like they’ve never seen hair like mine’

You always say.

 

I laugh and touch your hair.

 

 

Monuments

 

So.

 

We stand side by side,

Beside the monuments of the last and the great.

 

The colours muted and the colours bright -

A refuge from the cold that night.

And nothing more than a place to be

Warm with you.

 

Though we are surrounded by a history,

I close my eyes and kiss you.

 

So.

 

 

Valentine

 

Through streets that shine with rain

You trip ahead of me -

And I can see

Your smile and your bed;

The crumpled spaces

Where we mix

Both carnal and sublime.

 

You turn

We kiss.

 

 

St Mary’s Church, Linton

 

‘I will go with my father a-plowing,

To the green field by the sea’.

 

I will go with my father a-plowing -

I will stand on top of Corrán Tuathail again.

 

High-halled and high-handed,

Soaring over the sea at the crest of St Mary’s.

The green field, consecrated ground.

The green field by the sea.

 

‘And the rooks and the crows and the seagulls

Will come flocking after me’.

 

 

Night-Tellers

 

I feel a kind of peace, a kind of ease

That pleases me -

I feed myself within your kindness.

 

Crease of sheet and fold of skin,

Bedded and barricaded against the cold -

Outside a storm begins.

 

Soft kisses in the night-tinged moonlight,

Skin on skin.

I often wake to find you in my eyes.

‘I need to see that you’re alive’,

You say.

 

I feel a peace, an ease -

We share in this,

Our kinship of kindness.

Comments (2)

Michael Hughes said

at 8:32 pm on Apr 22, 2013

Well done, Noah.

James Waddell said

at 6:20 am on Dec 22, 2012

I thought it worked, in like a self-referential way - like a lot of the other stuff you wrote, the poem is saturated in cultural, literary, folk legend and musical allusion. So using phrases that otherwise (might, not necessarily) be a little commonplace, like "wind whistles", works together with that to deliberately place the poem in a continuing literary meta-narrative. Hence when the speaker says "I am not walking alone", and "Old names here and there", it's sort of an authorial voice too. It fits in with the network imagery as well - vines, streets, etc, everything joined up and connected, like a web of interrelations. Mad props. I think "A Person On A Train" is still ma fave, though.

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